Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Bath Chair




Just so darn cute






First Haircut

Okay, so really I just cut her bangs...but I screwed up. Not used to cutting hair that curls up after you cut it...it gets shorter than where you cut it. And yes, I saved the curls that I cut off. Joe thinks it's strange, and so do I, but I couldn't bring myself to throw them away.

BEFORE:














AFTER:

Chattin' it up

video

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Watching you, watching me, watching you

Ella's surgery was scheduled to start at noon. So, we got started a little late. The doctor arrived at 1pm and the surgery started almost immediatly. She was in a GREAT mood the entire time during pre-op. She even went with the doctors and nurses without a problem. About an hour later, after Joe had gone back to work and my wonderful sister and dad brought me lunch, Ella came out of surgery beautifully. Talking to the doctor the surgery went really well. They did a little surgery to both eyes. He did less to the right eye than he thought he was going to have to do, which is a HUGE praise. Ella was in such a great mood and did so well with her fluids afterwards that we went home at 3pm. Yep, 2 hours from the time they took her back until we were driving out of the parking lot. Joe met us back at the house and we just stayed home and hung out the 3 of us.

Thank you to everyone who prayed. The whole day went very smoothly and there were no tears shed, by anyone. I'm so greatful that the Lord has been so faithful to us.


On the way to the hospital...not real concerned:











Playing with Daddy pre-op:














Leaving in "style":











Recovering at home:














Recovery going really well...and she decided to do tricks on film:

Surgery Day

We are heading to the surgery center soon...surgery starts at noon. We'll write updates and maybe post pictures later today. The surgery is about 45 mins and I have NO idea how long we'll hang out there afterwards.

Thanks for your prayers and notes of love and support. God is good...ALL THE TIME!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ella in Wonderland










"What pretty eyes you have"

I just realized that I never sent this news. Ella will be having eye surgery this week. The surgery will be Wednesday at noon at the Plano Pediatric Surgery Center. We know that she will be having surgery on the right eye, and possible surgery on the left eye. I have known this was coming, but the closer it gets the more my heart breaks for my happy little girl. I just want her to not have to be poked or prodded...and I was just never prepared for 2 surgeries in less than 1.5 years of life.

Here is the surgery explained (if you want medical info) from our resident eye expert Dr. Andrew Bossen (brother-in-law to Stephanie Poage):
Strabismus surgery generally consists of making small incision through the conjunctiva (whites) of the eye and detaching the eye muscles that move our globe and either shortening or lengthening their plane of action by re-attaching in a different area of shortening the muscle etc. The child is put to sleep, and the surgery generally takes around 30-60minutes (but it can vary based upon complexity). The child then goes home and the eye is irritated and red for 2-3 weeks, and you put in drops or ointment generally 4x a day or so. The biggest factor is managing the child's ambylopia. I.e.- if the child doesn't 'see' well out of that eye and patching/drops etc. isn't faithfully done, then the eye tends to not be as aligned as good as possible. The take home of that is; the brain doesn't like fuzzy signals, one has to force it through patching to look through the non-dominant eye and make the brain use that signal. Then the brain will use both eye signals to further help pull the eyes together to see one image. If one eye doesn't see well, then the brain disregards that image and doesn't really send to signals as strongly to pull/push the eyes to see one signal.

We should be home sometime on Wednesday afternoon and since Ella does so well with anesthesia then I'm hoping for a quicker release from the hospital. She should only be down for a couple of days and then out and about by the weekend. We'll let you know how everything goes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just a little story.

Joe and I have said SO many times that we know that Ella has sat in our Lord's lap, whether is was in the NICU or all the times she has been under a doctors care. We also say that she has a VERY good guardian angel. This story was sent to me from my friend Amber and it reminded me again how closely Ella has seen God's face.


A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10, 1991 , complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think she's going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one" Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. "No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Dana turned two months old. her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted. Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story. One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving , Texas , Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing. As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, "Do you smell that?" Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like
rain." Dana closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?" Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain." Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest." Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

Amazing Video

I just had this video and website forwarded to me...this video says everything that I hope and pray for with Ella.

http://www.theteyafund.org/index.html

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh, Happy Day!!

Well, we found out gender of Baby #2....it's a....BOY!! It's also Joe's 31st birthday today so we are having a great day of celebrating the two guys in my life!!

Ella couldn't be more thrilled...she's not big on showing emotion, but we know that she's super excited about having a brother to chew on and roll over.

Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Suffering

This weekend, while Joe was out of town on a Men's Retreat, I decided to attend church with my parents and my sister (and Micah). In attending the Height Baptist I usually expect to see people that I grew up with, their parents, and people who are both family and like family. I was raised in that amazing church for 26 years and it's like going home when I'm there. Disclaimer: I absolutely LOVE our church family at FBC and am in no way looking to switch over!!

So, that all being said BOTH the Sunday School lesson (given my Matt Russell) and the church sermon (presented by Gary Singleton) were about suffering.

Suffering: to submit to or be forced to endure; to feel keenly; undergo or experience; to put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable; to allow especially by reason of indifference; to endure death, pain, or distress; to sustain loss or damage; to be subject to disability or handicap.

I think we have ALL suffered. So many people ask how I "do it" with Ella or how I handle my days...I just do. The same way that families who can not bare children still attend first birthday parties, the same way my sister sleeps at night with a husband in Iraq, the way my friend survives without her father, the way the Moody's love the Lord without Eliot being in their arms...by God's grace and love you just "do it".

We don't all have to suffer big things. God gives us the sufferings that He designs us for. The question posed today was "Shouldn't life be easier as a follower of Christ?" Christ himself endured suffering: "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered..." Hebrews 5: 8

Even Paul suffered countless times for his love and commitment of Christ. I love the following passage: "...there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

I have learned to be SO thankful for Ella. I have learned that God has raised me up to be a new woman in Him because of the mother he has called me to be for Ella. I have prayed more, read more verses, listened more in church, and cried out to my Heavenly Father more in the past 16 months than I think I had in my whole life before my child became sick. I believe that the Lord could have brought me to this point in a million different ways, but he chose exactly what we have in Ella. He could have used Ella's death, but he chose to use her life...I am daily grateful for that. When it gets really tough some days I just remember how lucky I am to even have her here with us...and how her laughter can light up my day...and I know that it's not so bad.

Do I cry for her to walk...YES!! I believe that's okay. I know that the Lord loves me and holds me when I want my child healed. He knows that I don't understand the reasons, but as Marian always says...the why wouldn't make it any easier.

While we were in church today I saw a little girl being held by her daddy. She is probably about 4 years old and as I glanced over my heart ached for the day when Ella will wrap her arms and legs around Joe and put her head on his shoulder and just know that he will hold her forever. There are so many things that WE want for our children, and for ourselves, and yet all that matters is what God wants for us all...and listening and being obedient to that.

I teared up a lot at church today. I realized that there are SO many people who struggle with their own issues and some think mine seem worse, I'm really pretty okay with it...well, today anyway.

Just know, wherever God has you he wants you to rely on him whether you are in good times or bad times. If you are in plenty then praise the Lord that he has blessed you SO much. If times are rough and you feel the burden of suffering, then cling to Him...he may not fix it the way YOU want him to, but he'll be there to guide you through. He doesn't say life is easy and he promises that there WILL be suffering, but he gives you a shelter to cling to and know that He is God.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Yogurt

Yes, I think I'm trying to give Ella every single "pudding-like" item in the house! So, here is our experiance with yogurt. She started out not so sure...when she could feed herself she was a lot happier.